Tony Bellew has praised Oleksandr Usyk for taking the short end of the deal to fight Tyson Fury and crown an undisputed heavyweight champion.
The four-belt fight looked close to collapse as the sides failed to agree on financial reward, and Fury’s ultimatum of a 70/30 split looked to be the final nail in the coffin.
Usyk, however, responded quickly to accept the terms, also throwing in a caveat that Fury would donate money to Ukraine. The dealmaking was praised by fans and pundits, citing Usyk as putting legacy above currency to make the fight happen.
Bellew – a former world cruiserweight champion and one-time Usyk opponent – showed his appreciation.
“You can’t not respect this man! Sells himself and his 3 out of 4 belts well short! He does this [because] he wants to be the best and also help his country.”
You can’t not respect this man! Sells himself and his 3 out of 4 belts well short! He does this cos he wants to be the best and also help his country. #Inspiration#Usyk 💙💛 👏 💛💙 https://t.co/4hPamKWEn6
— Tony Bellew (@TonyBellew) March 11, 2023
Many fans believed ‘The Gypsy King’ was right to demand the lion’s share given that the fight – whilst not officially confirmed – will end up in his home country at Wembley Stadium.
Others, however, believe that Usyk’s achievement in becoming unified heavyweight champion and fighting for undisputed on away soil should have granted him half the pot.
Regardless, the development is good news for fight fans, with the latest reports suggesting that the final contracts are being readied to be signed. An official announcement is expected to follow soon after.
Usyk has been in training for the fight since December, and Fury announced today that he had begun a six-week camp to get prepared.
The man who leaves the ring the victor will be the first undisputed heavyweight champion of the four-belt era, and the division’s first sole champion since Lennox Lewis ruled supreme.